Thursday, January 27, 2011

Corporate Catharsis

A few weeks ago, I began what seems like a social experiment but is actually my job: I returned to my former corporate team as a consultant. I haven't mentioned it sooner because, well, I try not to comment much on work in this blog, but occasionally lines get crossed.

Now, I'm not back permanently, mind you, I'm just there to complete a project (using much of the expertise that I acquired there). But man, it's weird. I equate it to going back to high school as an adult. There's a familiar feeling of uncertainty and dread that comes with reentering the corporate whirlpool...

But here's the surprising part: It's not bad. I thought my post-traumatic stress would send me reeling upon re-entry, but instead it's kinda fun. It's not all fun, but it's fun to see my friends who are still there. It's fun to have coworkers who are actually sitting beside you (the downside of the home office). It's fun to be able to problem-solve in nearly real-time rather than feeling one or two steps removed from the solution.

More importantly, I feel like it's giving me a chance to make peace with a place that I associate with some of the hardest times of my life (I'm thinking specifically of my boys being in the hospital and my dad dying, but there was also that looming feeling that I was selling my soul). I don't know, it's like having lunch with an ex-boyfriend and realizing that you're actually happy that he's met someone else.

The point is, I'm finding it cathartic. And the work is actually interesting, a fact that got lost beneath the frenzy and politics when I actually worked there. Crazy.

Here's to finding healing in the most unlikely places.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

In Bloom

For those of you who might also be experiencing the typical late-January subzero blues, I'm here to tell you that I've discovered a ray of hope in an unlikely place (for me, anyway): Flowers! That I'm growing! And it's all thanks to the magic of the Watch 'Em Grow.

Now, I'll be honest and tell you that I have no experience with any other kind of planter, so I don't exactly know how this one compares, but what I DO know is that I've never kept any type of plant alive...I probably should have put that on my 40 by 40 list: "Keep a living thing that cannot tell you when it's hungry alive."

Well, if I had put that on my list, I'd now be checking it off. I might even be starting to understand the whole gardening phenomenon.

Now I'll be even more honest and tell you that the only reason I got this particular plant is because my friend works at Bachman's and offered to send me one as part of a marketing thing. And so while most recipients were probably evaluating the planter on its beauty, I took this on as a challenge to see whether I could keep it alive. I've been posting progress for my friends to see on Facebook, but I think this thing is so cool that I decided to blog about it, too.

I got the thing two weeks ago. And it looked like this:

And then with nothing more than a little water, I was greeted with this:
And now it looks like this!
I seriously only have to water it every other day and it seems like almost every morning a new kind of flower pokes its pretty little head up and says "Hello! January has not killed off all living things!" It makes me happy - especially because the view outside is pretty bleak.

I think I know what everyone is getting for Christmas this year...

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Invitation is Open

I realize it's only been a matter of days (not even two weeks!) since I made the resolution, but I am so far failing at inviting people over...which is to say that I have yet to invite anyone over. (I did, however, bake some chocolate chip cookies.)

In what could be construed as good news, I've gotten the part about staying home down pat. Except I fear I will be a hermit within one month. Every morning I ponder whether I can get away with staying in my pajamas for the entire day...usually I can't, but I sure do like the idea.

You see, I like my friends (a lot, mostly), but inviting them over just seems like a lot of work. More work than going out. I feel like I need a reason to invite people over...a theme, an event, an this my own neurosis? Do regular people just invite their friends over to watch Wheel of Fortune and eat microwave lasagna? (Yes, apparently I am now 70.)

And then there are the children...mine are sure to be that perfectly irritating mix of cute, distracting and needy. And if my friends bring their kids, well, we might as well have just gone to the Starbucks drive-thru together and called it a day because that's how much heart-to-heart conversation we're going to have. Not to mention that my house is practically a death trap for the under 3 set - I've never seen a house with so many sharp corners. Sorry, that was the anxiety talking.

Friends, I love you. I even love your kids. And you are all welcome. I think I just don't want to have to invite you. January is too cold for me to plan anything other than faraway vacations. Would it be too much for me to ask you all to get together and create a secret schedule in which you call me on a rotating basis to invite yourselves over and tell me what I should prepare? Ok, great. Thanks!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Here We Go

It’s my first blog of 2011 and already I feel behind! Sigh…I had such good intentions of posting something uplifting or inspirational on New Year’s Day. I guess inspiration never struck. Rather than interpret that as a sign of things to come this year, I’ll just assume that inspiration is simply still on its way, gathering momentum, waiting to pounce at just the right moment. Yes.

Did you all come up with resolutions for the year? (I like to ask questions because it makes me feel like I have an audience.) I have the standard “get back on the exercise wagon” one, which is so boring that I’m not even calling it a resolution, just something I simply must do before I am forced to buy bigger pants.

I seriously considered trying to give up sugar. Isn’t that hilarious? Then I thought, “Maybe I’ll just try to only consume the daily recommended allowance of sugar.” But, of course, there IS no daily allowance of sugar – sugar is entirely superfluous, which I think is what makes it sweet. In my research, I found a guideline that says you should try to limit sugar intake to only 8-10% of your daily calories…this means that the more I eat, the more sugar I can eat, but that’s probably not the way it’s intended. Maybe I should just stop eating sugar cookies for breakfast.

Actually, I think I'll resolve to bake more and to try harder recipes. It will go well with my other resolution to entertain more (not to be confused with throwing more parties because I think we all know I have party anxiety). I just want to invite people over more often. Small groups of people. Even just one person. It’s silly that we always go out and spend money every time we want to hang out…plus, it will force me to clean my house. Plus, plus, with how bad I’ve gotten about making plans, it would be efficient for me to invite several friends over at once. But not more than 6. Through no scientific research, I’ve decided that 6 is the magic number – once you go over, you miss out on talking to someone and that’s always such a bummer. (and one of the reasons I don't like to host parties)

Baking and entertaining. I feel like Betty wait, I don't think she bakes. I could resolve to do something career-related, but I'm much more inclined to just be happy where I am and see what happens.

And there you have it: Bake. Entertain. Be Happy and See What Happens.

Welcome to 2011.